“The Newsroom”: S2E2 Review

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

The second show of the season didn't really move the ball forward very much.  

There was more fall out from the YouTube video of Maggie screeching at the Sex and the City bus (the rant in which she declares her desire for her "best friend's boyfriend" which led to her break-up with Don).  Sloan and Maggie track down the owner of the video and ask her to pull it from YouTube.  They don't want Lisa (Maggie's best friend) to discover it.  But she does, and now Lisa (who was a little crazed to begin with) thinks that Maggie was intentionally "parking" Jim with Lisa, you know, as a backup.  No, it doesn't really make much sense, since Maggie and Jim work together.

Don has a bee in his bonnet about Troy Evans, a story which barely made the headlines in 2011.  Troy Evans was on Death Row in Georgia for shooting a cop, and couldn't get a retrial or clemency, despite the fact that 7 of the 9 "witnesses" now claim they didn't see him shoot the cop (and one of the other two witnesses was the one who probably did shoot the cop).  Don was Will McAvoy to get into the story, but Will says "no".  Although he agrees with most people that Troy Evans is not guilty, he doesn't want to use his celebrity journalist power to subvert the legal system.  Even if, as he admits, the legal system broke down.  And, of course, Troy Evans dies.

It was the second of two news stories in this episode that Will backed off of.  The other one was a (true) story that the United States used drones to kill an American – Anwar al-Awlaki — who had joined and become prominent in al Qaeda.  

Basically, Will was dealing with due process demons: one, where an American received due process but the system got it wrong; and another, where an American was killed by his government without due process at all.  Frustrated by his own inertness (and perhaps cowardice) to stand up to these wrongs, Will bails Neil out of jail (after his arrest at an Ocuupy Wall Street rally).

We learn a bit more about Project Genoa, the over-arching theme of the second season.  There is now a soldier willing to admit that he was part of a U.S military force that used sarin gas (a banned chemical weapon) on citizens in Pakistan.

Finally, Maggie and Gary (that's Gary Cooper, one of the lesser parts) get the green light to go to Uganda.  Maggie wants to be the newsroom's "go to" person on Africa.

And Jim is beginning to get frustrated at how sheepish the media is while on the Romney campaign bus.  (And are they positioning Jim to have a new love interest with that "competitor" girl reporter played by Hallie Shea?)

So, not a lot happening, but things building.

The best scenes were, in order (1) the cutthroat downsizing of Maggie by Lisa.  It began with a hug, and then Lisa quietly (and a bit unfairly) destroyed Maggie for her betrayal; (2) Mackenzie throwing a drink in the lap of Will as soon as she enters the bar.  His reponse: "Use your words".

P.S.  The Sheraton in Concord, NH is not that high.